Saturday, July 11, 2015

Product Expert to General Manager

To progress in your career, you may have to play the role of a general manager rather than that of a product expert. Product managers who are expected to play the role of a general manager of their product may be wondering what that means.

It is generally easier to play the role of an expert in a product area where you have a lot of experience, education and exposure. However, as you progress in your career, you will have to influence, hire, manage and motivate experts who are more experienced that you in their functional areas. For example a CEO may have to hire and manage HR, sales, engineering, design, finance and marketing experts. No CEO can be an expert in all areas.

Learning how to gain the respect and trust of experts who know more than you and are more experienced than you in their functional areas is a key skill to have to progress in your career. This is when you realize the role of a manager is not to tell people how to do their job but to paint the big picture, articulate the goals, get them the necessary resources, remove hurdles and let them execute towards those goals. It goes without saying that you need to convince those experts that the goal you are setting is worth pursuing.

Good product managers learn to do this at an early stage in their career. Some of them go on to become CEOs.

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